Do Artificial Sweeteners Increase Your Insulin?

The nutrition label says no sugar, but will artificial sweeteners and diet sodas destroy your blood sugar?

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. Every weekday, we make sense of the confusing world of wellness by analyzing the headlines, simplifying the latest research, and offering quick tips designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Monday motivation

  • Positive corner bonus

  • Pumping up your insulin?

  • Workout of the week

Arnold’s Podcast

Want more stories from Arnold? Every day, Arnold’s Pump Club Podcast opens with a story, perspective, and wisdom from Arnold that you won’t find in the newsletter. And, you’ll hear a recap of the day’s items. You can subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Google, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Arnold’s Corner: Monday Motivation

One of the best parts of having a fitness newsletter and the Pump app is listening to all of you.

Because I see your questions in the app and the replies to this email, I can keep my ear to the ground and see what’s getting you going and holding you back.

One thing I know holding you back is that so many gurus and influencers share conflicting information, and you get into the weeds and end up frozen with analysis paralysis.

I love pranks, so I thought about doing an April Fool’s Day email.

But going through “wellness” social media for an hour is better than any joke I could ever write.

Here are some actual posts you might find:

  • Eat raw bull testicles to optimize your hormones.

  • Detox your body with this $200 package of juices.

  • Eat bacon instead of using sunscreen.

  • Green Coffee Beans/Raspberry Ketones/Whatever is the new $35.99 product is the fastest way to lose fat.

  • Don’t drink coffee until you’ve been awake long enough you don’t need it anymore.

  • Tan your anus for more energy.

  • Not a single one of these is an April Fool’s joke. They’re all real. But don’t confuse real with true.

Many are meant to sell you something — the shortcut you “need” to finally discover fitness.

I am sure some of these influencers mean well. But the result of all of this information is a lot of people who don’t know where to get started.

Even when they’re sharing good information, it’s often the information that would help you to perfect the last 10 percent of your results.

That’s a fancy way to say you don’t need to worry about timing your morning coffee and whether to sun your butt if you haven’t mastered the basics yet. (For the record, I always start my day with my cup of coffee, and I will never sun my butt. I once ate a turkey testicle to be a good sport on James Corden’s show, but I’d never do it again).

The basics are simple, but they aren’t easy. That’s why people end up going down 3 or 4 or 50 dead-end shortcuts before they commit to what we know works.

We cover the basics in this newsletter every day, but just in case you need a quick guide, here are the things I would worry about before I’d worry about anything that has the word “optimize” in it:

  • Sleep 6-8 hours

  • Eat mostly food that your grandparents would recognize (not ultra-processed food)

  • Eat enough protein (0.7-1 gram per pound of goal body weight)

  • Eat vegetables

  • Drink water

  • Do some resistance training with your body weight or weights

  • Move throughout the day, not just in your workout

  • Be a part of something (whether a community, a hobby, or anything that brings you together with other people)

That’s a good start. If you can’t check those boxes, you don’t need to worry about whether the algae powder or the coconut fat is what you need. You need the basics.

It’s actually the only shortcut because you don’t waste your time on all of the shortcuts that lead you to a dead end.

It looks like this:

You don't need to get into the weeds if you do a little better with the basics daily. Focus on getting 1% better a day. If you sat all day yesterday, walk around the block today. If you only ate fried food last week, throw in some vegetables this week.

Just do something that you KNOW is good for you, and forget about the things that MIGHT be good for you.

It won’t be easy. But it is simple. 

Look at the bright side: you don’t have to eat animal testicles, and you can keep starting your day with coffee. 

Positive Corner Bonus

Arnold's mantra: If you build momentum, you don’t need to rely on motivation. 

So, if you’re trying to lose weight, improve your diet, or eat healthier, you don’t need to wait to make the decisions to increase your likelihood of success. You can start with a little bit of planning, small swaps, and decisions that will set you up to create momentum with a little bit of planning.

For example, research suggests a meal replacement shake or prepared meal can help you lose weight. There was no extra complication. Swap one meal, change nothing else, and you’ll create momentum. If you’re unsure what meal to select, pick the one meal that’s your biggest struggle, make a substitution, and watch your habits and body change. 

You can keep your momentum by avoiding the mistake that creates anxiety or frustration, leading to other positive behaviors. 

Finding time to cook can be a struggle, so we asked Trifecta to offer special pricing on their ready-to-eat meals.

Trifecta ships you vacuum-sealed meals that you can keep in your refrigerator for ten days when you need something delicious and healthy. You can pick your own meals or choose a curated selection from their chefs. Deliveries arrive Friday or Saturday to prepare you for the next week, and you can skip a week anytime you need.

Trifecta is an effective solution to help you move toward better eating without all the stress and anxiety. They can help you build a healthier eating routine. Having healthy food in your house that can be ready in less than 2 minutes makes eating healthy feel easier and can make all the difference in keeping you on track.

We’ve tried Trifecta’s meals, and they are legitimately delicious and designed by a two-Michelin Star Chef. They can adjust to fit any diet, and you can even order protein, veggies, and carbs by weight like you would at a grocery store deli.

Try Trifecta today, and you’ll receive 50% OFF your order + 1 pound of Free Salmon. It’s the perfect way to build momentum for an entire week and simplify planning. Just select the meals you want, then add the code “ARNOLDEATS” at checkout, and you’ll see the price cut in half and a pound of salmon added to your cart.

Pumping Up Your Insulin?

You might want to avoid artificial sweeteners and diet drinks for personal reasons. But here’s one you don’t need to stress if you choose to consume them:

Research suggests artificial sweeteners do not increase insulin or disrupt blood sugar management. 

In previous newsletters, we’ve shared how in-depth human-controlled trials show that artificial sweeteners are misunderstood and blamed for problems not found in dozens of studies. One study analyzed people for six months and found that artificial sweeteners did not affect metabolism, promote weight gain, or prevent fat loss. 

But what about an indirect impact? Influencers still claim you shouldn’t drink diet soda because it disrupts insulin sensitivity and, thereby, makes it easier to store fat.

Researchers tested this by randomly assigning participants to two diet sodas daily for twelve weeks and compared them to a placebo (carbonated water). After 12 weeks, there was no difference in insulin sensitivity, body weight, or waist circumference. In other words, drinking the diet soda was no different than carbonated water.

If you want to avoid artificial sweeteners or diet soda, that’s also perfectly fine. But, if you enjoy them occasionally, research suggests that they won’t hold back any weight loss and do not damage your blood sugar or insulin. 

Workout of the Week

Complexes are a time and space-efficient method to help you burn fat, build conditioning, or layer on new muscle. With the right approach, they can even help you get stronger. 

But first, what’s a complex? It’s a series of exercises down back-to-back with the same equipment. 

Traditionally, you’ll perform sets of 5 to 8 reps on each exercise within a complex. You can see how the reps add up quickly if you're doing five movements. However, by lowering the reps — and with a smart design — you can get stronger and do enough volume to build muscle, and the lack of rest and continuous movement gives you the benefits of a cardio workout. 

This workout from BJ Ward, head coach at Born Fitness, is the perfect design for accomplishing multiple goals simultaneously. And you can complete in as little as 10 minutes.

Ready to give it a shot? 

How to do it: 

  • Perform one round of three reps on each exercise and each side of your body (each movement is done with one arm or one leg). Try to rest as little as possible (or not at all) between exercises. The goal is never to set the weight down until an entire round is finished.

  • Once you perform all five exercises, that’s one round. Set the weight down and rest for 1-2 minutes. 

  • Set a timer for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. If you’re a beginner, start with 10 minutes. If you’re more advanced, take on 30 minutes. See how many rounds you can perform in the time you have. 

The Workout

  1. Kettlebell 1-Arm Clean (3 reps on your left arm + 3 reps on your right arm)

  2. Single Arm Kettlebell Push Press (3 reps on your left arm + 3 reps on your right arm)

  3. Single Arm Kettlebell Front Squat: (3 reps holding in one arm + 3 reps holding on the other arm)

  4. Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlift (3 reps on the left leg + 3 reps on the right leg)

  5. Bent-over Kettlebell Row (3 reps on your left arm + 3 reps on your right arm)

Notes: You can also use a dumbbell, bands, weighted backpack, or rucksack. To find the right weight, use your weakest exercise (for most, that’s the push press) for all movements. That means some exercises might feel a little easy — but that will change once you start doing all the movements. 

Good luck, give it a try, and let us know how it goes!

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell